David Tamakloe, the Managing Editor of Whatsup News, a digital newspaper, was arrested at his office on Wednesday, October 7, 2020, reportedly over a news story his outfit published in July.
According to GhanaWeb sources, Tamakloe was sent to the Tesano Police Station by officials of the Ghana Police Service on Wednesday afternoon and later in the night, he was dragged to New Edubiase in the Ashanti Region.
Tamakloe’s arrest, reports say, was in connection with a report published by the virtual newspaper about a press conference by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) during the recent nationwide registration for the new voters’ ID cards which was organised by the Electoral Commission (EC).
At the said press conference, the NDC reportedly alleged that the Ewe and various citizens from northern Ghana sojourned in the New Edubiase were being intimidated by supporters of the incumbent New Patriotic Party (NPP).
“Today, the Editor-In-Chief of the digital newspaper Whatsup News was picked up by some personnel who say they are National Security Operatives to a location that is not readily known,” the Management of the media outlet disclosed.
Edudzi Tamakloe who is the counsel representing the journalist told ModernGhana.com that the New Edubiase District Court issued a bench warrant for his client’s arrest over the said publication.
The journalist is said to have ignored an earlier police invitation, thereby seeking a bench warrant for his arrest by the New Edubiase police.
Tamakloe is expected to be arraigned before a court of competent jurisdiction this morning.
Prior to Tamakloe’s arrest, it was reported that the Ghana Police Service officials at New Edubiase arrested one Francis Kwame Konu for sharing the content of the digital newspaper against the laws on publication of fake news.
There is controversy and tension over the arrest since the Whatsup News team claim the said news report was verified by Whatsup News as having emanated from a press conference organised by the NDC.
Ghana’s law on publication of Fake News
Section 76 of the Electronic Communications Act, 2008 (Act 775) clause (1) A says: “A person who by means of electronic communications service, knowingly sends a communication which is false or misleading and likely to prejudice the efficiency of life saving service or to endanger the safety of any person, … commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than [thirty six thousand Ghanaian Cedis] or to a term of imprisonment of not more than five years or both.
(2) A person is taken to know that a communication is false or misleading if that person did not take reasonable steps to find out whether the communication was false, misleading, reckless or fraudulent.”